Irish folk group The High Kings' fourth studio album, Grace & Glory, takes them back to the essentials that kick-started their career in the first place a decade ago. "We felt it was the right time to park the original songs for a while," says Martin Furey. "We did a two-year tour for the ‘Friends for Life' album, and then we put out a live show album/DVD – ‘Four Friends Live'. That was received so well that we felt a back-to-basics approach – traditional ballad songs with new arrangements – would be good."
To say that The High Kings are charting a new course for Irish ballad music – equal parts rousing and reflective, energetic and insightful – is an understatement. They are, essentially, marking out a new and bright era for Irish folk music, and aiming to bring a broad demographic along for the journey. "With ‘Grace & Glory' we're going to achieve that," affirms Martin. "There is something for everybody on the album, and any doubters out there might just discover there's a whole lot more to us than perceptions would have them believe. Previous High Kings albums have been stepping-stones, but this one sees us on top of things."
Grace & Glory includes 12 songs all performed in The High Kings' inimitable style including "Grace," "Ride On" and a brilliant version of "Spancil Hill." The album also features the song "Schooldays Over" which the band performed to great acclaim on the recent RTÉ Centenary Concert. In addition to this, also featured is a special version of "Hand Me Down My Bible." The version on the album features a third verse, written especially for The High Kings by Phil Coulter. The song was originally written by Coulter for The Dubliners in 1970.